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Implicit Slicing for Functionally Tailored Additive Manufacturing

[+] Author Affiliations
John C. Steuben, Athanasios P. Iliopoulos, John G. Michopoulos

Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC

Paper No. DETC2016-59638, pp. V01AT02A033; 13 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 1A: 36th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, August 21–24, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5007-7
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


One crucial component of the additive manufacturing software toolchain is a class of geometric algorithms known as “slicers.” The purpose of the slicer is to compute a parametric toolpath defined at the mesoscale and associated g-code commands, which direct an additive manufacturing system to produce a physical realization of a three-dimensional input model. Existing slicing algorithms operate by application of geometric transformations upon the input geometry in order to produce the toolpath. In this paper we introduce an implicit slicing algorithm that computes mesoscale toolpaths from the level sets of heuristics-based or physics-based fields defined over the input geometry. This enables computationally efficient slicing of arbitrarily complex geometries in a straight forward fashion. The calculation of component “infill” is explored, as a process control parameter, due to its strong influence on the produced component’s functional performance. Several examples of the application of the proposed implicit slicer are presented. It is demonstrated — via proper experimentation — that the implicit slicer can produce a mesoscale structure leading to objects of superior functional performance such as greatly increased stiffness and ultimate strength without an increase of mass. We conclude with remarks regarding the strengths of the implicit approach relative to existing explicit approaches, and discuss future work required in order to extend the methodology.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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